4 June 2020

Assisted Reproduction: the 4 major keys to IVI’s success

Doctor
Medical Director
Cesar Diaz-Garcia
MD PhD Assoc Prof
IVI London

 

  • In Fertility Month, IVI shares the pillars on which its success is based
  • Cumulative pregnancy rates following three in vitro fertilization cycles using donated eggs are very close to 100%.

Watching over patients’ safety at every step, achieving outstanding success rates even in most challenging cases, investing in cutting-edge research and learning to control time, are four differentiating elements when offering quality assisted reproduction treatments.

Fertility month is our month. The month when we most celebrate the miracle of motherhood. And this year is even more special because it is been 30 years of helping our patients’ dreams come true. Here it is how we made this happen:

 

Safe assisted reproduction

We live in an age of safety, exacerbated by the most lethal pandemic of the 21st century. Resuming fertility treatments has been orchestrated by comprehensive safety measures, including over fifteen steps that are part of the safety protocol used at all IVI clinics. In addition to the basic measures (gloves, masks, protective screens, hydroalcoholic gel…), all our laboratories have always been equipped with the necessary processes to work with type 2 infectious agents such as Zika or HIV and, also, SARS-CoV-2. Likewise, given the uncertainty emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, all our patients undergoing treatment (both women and men) are subjected to diagnostic tests at every step of the assisted reproduction process.  By these means, immunity can be assessed, and the presence of Coronavirus is ruled out, allowing us to reduce the spread of the virus and minimize the risk of patients becoming infected during their treatment.

One of the most important goals of IVI is to provide families with a healthy baby and ensure the mother-to-be remains healthy. The combination of a single embryo transfer (SET) approach and the use of preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) are two strategies that only most specialized clinics can offer, allowing equal or greater success rates:

  • A single embryo transfer policy has helped IVI to reduce twin pregnancies rates by 75% in the last ten years, which in turn reduce the maternal and foetal risks that these entail (such as prematurity, low birth weight, hypertension…). In IVI London, our commitment to the safety of our patients and their babies has increased our SET rates to over 98% in all our treatments, being the leading clinic of the IVI group to adopt this policy. You can see more advantages of single embryo transfer in this video: 

  • Similarly, the use of preimplantation genetic testing to rule out genetic or chromosomal abnormalities and prevent the transmission of serious genetic conditions to the offspring has increased our cumulative pregnancy rate to 73.4%.

Last but not least, the expanded carrier screening test for monogenic diseases provides life-lasting information about an individual’s reproductive risk and the chances of having a child affected by a genetic condition. In both IVF and egg donation programs, compatibility genetic testing can be used to minimize the risk of a genetic condition being transmitted to the offspring and gives couples the opportunity to be properly assessed about their reproductive options. 

 

Complex medical cases at IVI

Achieving the impossible is not a pipe-dream when we look at our pregnancy rate (see graph below). Regardless of the previous number of treatment attempts (1 to 5) a patient/couple have undergone before coming to our clinics, the average pregnancy rate is still of over 50%, which shows our commitment to maximize our patients’ chances to get pregnant and fulfil their dream of becoming parents.

Graphic pregnancy rates

Did you know that IVI was one of the pioneering clinics in having its data audited by a third party? Did you know that all IVI data is validated annually not only by an external leader auditing firm but also by the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority)? This allows us to be extremely precise when comparing our data with that of the HFEA, which shows that our implantation rates with own oocytes double the national average.

Helping patients to succeed is usually not a piece of cake and we understand how long and difficult the road to motherhood can be. Hence, we try to make the experience of all our patients as good and short as possible to ease the emotional and financial burden of undergoing multiple assisted reproduction treatments.

 

Research and success rates at IVI

With more than 1,900 researchers, 28 laboratories in 9 countries, 15 lines of research and around 150 publications per year, our only goal is helping out our patients. Researching is one of the strengths and driving forces of IVI; allowing us to meet all safety standards and outstanding results by leading research in the field of reproductive medicine. ESHRE, the highest reproductive authority in Europe, will hold this year its congress, being IVI the largest group worldwide submitting over 52 scientific papers about emerging scientific reproductive topics.

Our studies and scientific research, are the key to increasing and guaranteeing our success rates of 70% and 80% for IVF and egg donation (respectively) and cumulative pregnancy rate after three attempts in both cases very close to 100%.

Graphic pregnancy after 3 attempts

Time and age in assisted reproduction

Far from the romantic idea of holding back time, many of the advances in assisted reproduction allow us to control it. First and foremost,  the AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone) test, is a blood test that assesses the ovarian reserve. For those whose biological clock is already ticking, fertility preservation or vitrification of oocytes might be the option to freeze time.

Secondly, aside from the most well-known options, IVI wages its own particular battle against time with several studies on ovarian rejuvenation. This technique consists of regenerating the ovarian niche by infusing platelet-rich plasma from stem-cell-rich blood or by activating dormant follicles by fragmenting the ovarian tissue (OFFA technique). As a result of this technique, women with very poor or almost inexistent ovarian reserve have been able to conceive and several babies have been born. IVI London is a pioneer centre in ovarian rejuvenation, our results being presented in the most important scientific meetings worldwide.

Last but not least, a recent line of research is working on trying to recover (lengthen) the telomeres (ends of the chromosomes, indicators of ageing) by means of a specific medication. In other words, research is being carried out to prevent the progressive deterioration of the telomeres in patients with low ovarian reserve to prevent or delay the ovarian ageing process and its implications for their future motherhood.

 

Taking all the above into consideration, IVI’s passion for science, research and life has helped and will keep helping patients to hold their future child in their arms.

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